Welcome to the new blog. I guess we'll just get started. Why this? Long story short, I'm homeless. I certainly did not expect to be however - and certainly not for 45 days and counting. It's something most people don't expect, let alone prepare for. Basically, I'm sharing this experience with you. I'll be posting on the lessons I've learned so far as well as future ones. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. Better to hear it from one who's in thick of it before you're out here.
Lesson one - The State will not help you (mostly).
No BS folks. In SoCal, most of the programs that may help you are geared towards one group - completely broke, single drug addicts. If you want a bed, you have to pretty much give up your job. If you still have a job like me, this is obviously not an option. If you have a significant other or any other kind of family, forget it.
On a side note, I didn't wind up here because I couldn't afford the rent. I wound up here because of a landlord who didn't like maintaining their property. Hence when I found that my little box apartment had been infiltrated by several types of mold and a sinking floor, the landlord promptly blamed me for it. I called the city and county housing authorities. Guess what? They won't help you either. They will give you a nice pamphlet on finding housing though.
As someone else put the point, God (or whatever you believe in) does not help those who won't help themselves. In other words, be prepared to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.
Lesson two - Compress your gear.
Tres importante. You're going to be living a very different lifestyle. Whether you have a car, motorcycle, scooter, or just a pack, everything you need has to fit. If you've ever had to pack a 'GI' bag or seabag, you already have a general idea. I could go on for days about this, but for today we'll just do the wardrobe. Stick with one type of general outfit (pants, shirt, belt, etc). You don't have to do this all at once, but over time, it makes things easier. For example, my daily outfit is a short sleeve collared polo-type shirt (many different colors) with cargo style pants. Specifically I wear Wranger Hero cargo pants. The side pockets are helpful, they look good with anything, they're durable, and at $17, cheap.
Enough rambling. The point is to get about 5-7 general outfits that are fairly interchangeable. Add a few good button up shirts and ties (for interviews, job functions, etc.) and you're fairly well set. However many outfits you have, mulitply by 1.5 for socks and undergarments. Things happen. Top it off with one or two colored t-shirts and shorts. Why? You gotta do laundry eventually right? You need something to wear while you wash your day stuff. Plus if you ever go swimming , work out, etc; life doesn't stop while you're lacking for a place to live.
I think we've lost our minds enough for today, eh? In the meantime, for some ideas on how to compress your other stuff, check out Lifehacker (http://lifehacker.com/; look for 'go bag'). I'm going to continue next time with the wardrobe, maybe some gear tips, and whatever else I can come up with.
While I'm gone if any of you are in a similar tacsit, or just have some friendly advice for the rest of us, comment! Post your experience. Hell's bells, I can't be the only one in this kind of mess. Til next post, it's 2205 days since 9/11 and still no one's caught Osama Bin Laden, and at 45 days and counting, I'm still homeless.